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A beautiful representation of nature - 88%

Crust77, January 2nd, 2018

When I first went into this album it wasn’t with high expectations. I find that most atmospheric black metal is simply boring and repetitive, plus, I’d heard and not been very impressed by some of Drudkh’s later material. But this album pleasantly surprised me. The combination of the songwriting along with the production of this album truly does evoke images of lush, golden forests, with sunlight beaming through the trees. With Autumn Aurora Drudkh accomplished atmosphere vividly, but not at the expense of captivating, and in this case beautiful music.

The first track that absolutely amazed me on this album was Glare of Autumn. It starts with a gentle acoustic intro, with the sound of rain in the background, which sets the scene perfectly. But its the subsequent black metal part of the song that makes it a completely masterpiece. Its the perfect combination of keyboards, electric guitar, and the right drum patterns at the right times. The drums alternate between a slow kick & snare beat with fast cymbals, to blast-beating. The switch to blast-beats is perfect as a result of its timing with the chords, which alternate between a high and low chord before switching to the lowest chord in time with the blast beats to create a powerful sound. And the airy keyboards mix with the grainy guitar tone to create a beautiful texture; the sound/production of this album is perfect.

Drudkh also make use of happy melodies giving certain songs a more positive energy, perhaps thematically equivalent to the Sun. The biggest example of this is the main melody of the song Sunwheel, which is catchy and pretty upbeat. But as the album (and conceptually, Autumn) comes closer to its end the songs become more melancholic and cold. The album ends with The First Snow which truly does evoke an imagine of snow slowly starting to fall. The dark, chilly chords and aforementioned production is what makes it work, along with the fact that there are no drums on this track. The choice of omitting drums was a brilliant one, it creates a gentle atmosphere, akin to something slowly getting colder. It truly is beautiful, hearing the album represent the transition of Autumn into Winter sonically.

This album is the perfect example of how powerful black metal is as a genre and is a masterpiece. Incidentally, I’m sure its a good gateway album for getting into black metal, as its not very harsh but features the tropes of the genre.